|08-11-2013, 03:22 PM||#31|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
I'm about to post the section through the Great Divide Basin in WY. Hard to believe I'm only on day 10...Wayne says we did the ride faster than I'm doing my write-up.
|08-11-2013, 03:26 PM||#32|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
DAY 10 - JULY 13 - SATURDAY
Pinedale, WY to Rawlins, WY
The sun rises around 6:00, and we usually roll out of our tents soon after. Today, however, is special. It's Great Divide Basin day, where we will have our longest stretch without gas. We will be riding through a high desert full of nothing. There's also a section near the start where Big Dog entered the waypoint "Bad Hill — Washed Out." Not knowing how bad it would be, Alex wanted to strike out early so he'd have extra time to struggle through whatever lay ahead.
On our way out of Pinedale I see something unusual in the back of a truck. I can't really tell what it is, but I'm pretty sure antlers are involved. Not until I look at the photo much later do I realize this American treasure is a floor lamp. If it's not a family heirloom, it should be.
Not too far out of Pinedale the dirt begins.
This is the first gate we've encountered on the entire trip. The road is also taking on a more TAT-like quality.
We arrive at Big Dog's bad hill and are relieved not to find Alex upside-down or otherwise incapacitated. Wayne goes up first, stops halfway for reasons unknown, and then continues on. I don't like the fact that he had to stop so I wait for his signal. He returns to the place he stopped and waves me up.
I rumble until I crest the first hill and drop into a sandy spot. Wayne wanted to make sure I didn't come into it too fast and tuck the front. The rest of the way is steep, but it looks doable so I continue on.
I make it to the top without dropping the bike and that always deserves a fist bump. (Footage of the hill ride is here).
Lander Cutoff was one of the first federally sponsored roads in the west. It was good for the emigrants and even better for CDT riders because...
...this road was so creamy and smooth they should've named it Ice Cream Cutoff.
We happen to be passing through the historic site of South Pass City on Gold Rush Days, where visitors could enjoy such activities as gold panning and anvil blasting (I didn't even know that existed — apparently it's brilliant entertainment if you've got a spare anvil and surplus gunpowder). It is mildly surreal to be in the middle of nowhere yet have vehicles continually stream by.
With South Pass City and Atlantic City behind us, we're heading into the heart of the Big Empty. From here to Rawlins it's a heaping plateful of NOTHING. That's why it's so very disconcerting to see Alex pointing in the wrong direction.
The Ural disapproved of the washboard surface and made this clear by spitting out its differential dipstick/plug. Alex backtracked in search of the plug but had no luck. While Alex and Wayne work on a solution, I backtrack the rest of the washboard section in hopes of finding the plug.
I return empty handed, but the boys have figured out a temporary solution with a hose slipped over a smaller bolt. Once again the Ural is cleared for flight.
Wayne and Simon have disappeared somewhere way ahead of me (Alex and Lola are even farther down the road). The dark grey skies over empty desert create a post-apocalyptic landscape that makes me feel like the last person on earth. There's lightning in the distance and, ya know, I'm feeling a little lonely right now... everybody's got a dog but me.
That's why I'm so excited to see this man-made oasis; it's a place to hide from the incoming weather. And being one to anthropomorphize everything, the slow movement of the pumpjack makes me feel like I've now got a mechanical pet to keep me company. Problem is, Wayne might get 50 miles down the road before he knows I've stopped. And there's the chance that a storm won't materialize so hunkering down would be a waste of time. I sigh and move on. At least I didn't hang around long enough to give the pumpjack a name and make leaving even harder.
I eventually catch up to Wayne, who has stopped to put on his rain gear. I do the same.
When we regroup with Alex about an hour later the storm has backed off — temporarily — and we strip back down for the heat.
Not even this wonky terrain will stop Alex and Lola from getting to Rawlins!
When we finally get to I-80 the eastbound lanes are closed so we're forced to share the westbound lanes. I-80 is a trucking corridor and the semis are all around us. The ones passing us in the other direction create wind blasts that push the DRZ around. The semi behind me is parked on my ass but I've got nowhere to go. Suddenly Wayne throws an arm up and veers off the freeway into the dirt median. I do the same and since we're travelling at 70 mph I'm hoping it's a smooth transition because if it's not this is going to hurt, especially if I spin back into traffic and that tail-gating semi runs me over.
I mentioned earlier that this was the longest stretch without gas, and Wayne's DRZ picked an uncomfortable place to underline that fact. Wayne pulls off the Rotopax and fills his tank. Although I haven't run out of gas and we're only a few miles from Rawlins, I demand that he also fill my tank because I do not want to go through that high speed freeway-departing maneuver again.
In Rawlins we look for a campground while Alex goes in search of a bolt to replace the one the Ural ejected. We pay for a spot at Western Hills Campground and while we're deciding in which spot to camp, that storm we had been eyeing throughout the basin now unloads on us with violent winds and thunder and lightning. We take shelter but we're still getting thrashed by the weather-gone-sideways. Simon looks like he's napping but he's actually shaking and quietly praying to his doggy god to make it stop.
If this weather can blow a bike over, a tent won't stand a chance. I go into the campground office and beg to have the charge cancelled. Thankfully, the woman at the counter lets us off the hook.
We're delighted to get a place at the Super 8 for the night and order Chinese food to be delivered to our room in celebration. Mongolian beef all around!
236 miles, 6:28 hours moving time
zina screwed with this post 08-11-2013 at 03:36 PM
|08-12-2013, 07:31 AM||#33|
Joined: Aug 2011
Keep it coming. So much wit and humor!!
Enjoying the ride so far.
I can do the squat LOL
2013 ride report:
2012 KLR 650, 2013 Super Tenere
|08-15-2013, 09:05 AM||#34|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
DAY 11 - JULY 14 - SUNDAY
Rawlins, WY to Kremmling, CO
Goodbye Rawlins, we hardly knew ye. At the least, we do know that you are situated near some mighty wide roads.
If these dirt roads don't normally have a dotted line or anything else to indicate where the center is, why are these traffic barrels needed during repairs? Road workers must be terrible drivers! I'd ask someone but it's Sunday and no one is on site.
These ambassadors of Colorado line the road and welcome us to their state, where you can now legally spark up a fat one. Mile high? Now it is.
Other than the dualsporters we saw at the gas stop in Montana, we haven't seen any other motorcyclists so it's not hard for them to stand out. Anybody reading this recognize themselves? I am jealous of your ample windscreens.
We're back on the pavement as we cruise into Steamboat Springs. The traffic heading into town is tedious, as vehicles towing recreational items barely meet the speed limit. I can't decide what's more frustrating: urban commuter traffic or rural traffic on an impassible two-lane road. We eventually get into town and pull into a gas station. The pumps aren't working properly so we give up and opt to have lunch at the Mexican place right next to the pumps.
Our burritos are awesome. This and the sandwich in Butte have been the culinary standouts of the trip (I realize that's not hard when most meals have been coming out of cans and wrappers, but this is still a tremendous burrito). We chat with Kent, the owner, who lived in San Diego for a while. Kent is looking like a KTM rep in this photo.
Kent is into experimentation and he tells us about a dish he created featuring chorrizo, pistacios and macaroni and cheese. We aren't making particularly supportive comments about the blend so he insists we try it. It was, in fact, peculiar in concept but delicious in reality. If you stop at Taco Cabo in Steamboat Springs, tell Kent that Zina sent you. He will either look at you blankly or smile and slap you on the back. If he's concocting something new maybe he'll give you a sample.
It could be that Alex, Wayne and I have the emotional age of 17-year-olds, but we snort every time we pull into a Kum & Go. According to Wikipedia: It was a play on the phrase "come and go" using the initials of founders Krause and Gentle. Sales of Kum & Go-branded merchandise increased after Johnny Knoxville was seen wearing a Kum & Go t-shirt during a scene in the 2006 movie Jackass Number Two. Kum & Go + Jackass = Destiny.
And while we're on the subject of gasoline, something was up with Montana's petrol blend. I found it hard to ride behind Wayne because the exhaust stunk like dirty diesel. After we departed Montana and started using Idaho's gas, the smell stopped (and never came back in any other state). What are they putting in that Big Sky mix?
The usual afternoon build-up of clouds is taking place as we leave Steamboat Springs. Will we be heading into rain?
This fox with a fresh kill has a fluffy tail but otherwise seems low on fur. As I was fumbling with my camera it ran off so I only have a video of it.
As we're nearing the waypoint of a deep water crossing, we come across two riders. They warn us that another rider had tried crossing it the day before and sunk his bike in waist-deep water and it wouldn't start again. They found a way around the water but it sounded like a nasty slog that took them a couple of hours. They tell us we can easily bypass the water by taking the highway for a short stretch.
We don't need any convincing. Here's a photo from a trip to Utah where Wayne misjudged the water level. It took a couple of hours of draining and drying before the bike would run again. So thank you coarsegoldkid (advrider) and friend for saving us from ourselves because if we rode up to it, we'd probably have risen to the aquatic challenge, only to fail spectacularly.
While we're on the highway looking for the dirt turnoff it starts to rain. We're having a hard time finding the correct turnoff and end up riding back and forth a few times. We eventually decide a road we had previously started down must be the correct one so we continue on. Thankfully, the rain lets up before the trail gets sloppy.
It's late afternoon and we're about to descend into the valley. Time to start thinking about a camping spot somewhere down there.
About 10 miles from Kremmling we settle in for the night at Pumphouse Campground. It's a beautiful spot along the Colorado River, but what I like the most about it is the lack of insects, particularly mosquitoes. I am still scratching the bites I have until they're bloody.
A dog from a neighboring campground comes to visit. Alex is a Dog Whisperer and they are instinctively drawn to his primal magnetism. That and his endless supply of treats.
Since we've got some daylight remaining, we give the Ural a test drive. It's fun to drive, but I can only say that because I never took it out of first gear. I can see all the body English Alex puts into turning the rig at high speeds and it looks like a lot of work.
Alex treats me to what he calls "flying the chair," where he gets the sidecar into the air by tilting the Ural onto the motorcycle's two wheels (video here). I feel like I'm on a Disneyland e-ticket ride!
And finally, no day can end without the requisite sock washing. In Asian culture, the feet are the key energy centers and need to be kept clean or the chi will be blocked, resulting in a whole host of illnesses. Last time I didn't wash my feet I passed out and rode into a barbed wire fence.*
208 miles, 6:03 hours moving time
*I made this up. There just wasn't enough drama on today's ride. You gotta admit that this piqued your interest, no?
|08-16-2013, 08:44 AM||#35|
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Coarsegold, CA
Cornelis and I were happy to be of assistance to fellow dual sporters. We saw only a handful of riders on the UBCDR and CBCDR. By the way DRZ400s were the most popular mule.
|08-16-2013, 07:19 PM||#36|
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: The Western Frontier,w/of Nevada,but just barely.
Nice RR. Waiting for more.
The Moon is mine, not Felix's!
|08-17-2013, 05:14 PM||#37|
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: SW Flowdah
Very good stuff here. Your sauce is strong. Please sell all your worldly goods, quit your jobs and go rtw. It would be a very good read for us. Thanks in advance.
|08-25-2013, 08:58 PM||#38|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
We have very little idea of what's over there...I bet the people are quite exotic!
I've been occupied this past week so I haven't had time to get another post done. I finally sat down long enough to get another day done (to be posted in a sec...). I'm hoping I can finish up the last few days without another long delay.
|08-25-2013, 09:01 PM||#39|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
DAY 12 - JULY 15 - MONDAY
Kremmling, CO to Salida, CO
Simon usually sits right next to one of the bikes, convinced that we'll try to ditch him, but for some reason he's taking a chance this morning and sitting in the road. That's an impressive shadow for a dog of exceedlingly small stature.
My GPS has two sizeable blotches that grew from two small lines. They aren't a big deal but every time I glance down I think they're waypoints for water crossings.
It's a fast road into Kremmling that's also light on dust due to the recent rains. I can sense a Kum & Go waiting for us just miles away.
This couple "skiing" down the road is moving along with decent speed. It would appear that she's parapalegic while he's an amputee. She's a fair way in the lead, which is surprising given the guns on the guy. Maybe she's the mechanic and he got the wheels with square bearings.
Dillon Reservoir is the largest water storage facility owned and operated by Denver Water. If you're angry at someone in Denver, you know where to pee.
In Breckenridge, these two gents show interest in the Ural. They walk part way across the parking lot and stop, asking questions about the rig across a DMZ they won't cross. As another man — not sporting full-body orange — approaches their truck, the two dutifully retreat, showing us the SUMMIT COUNTY JAIL stamped across their backs. What I learn today: Dudes who run afoul of the law dig Urals more than DRZs. Can't blame them, especially since the camo paint job is the antithesis of their screaming orange togs.
The post-lunch scenery is excellent for digestion.
Boreas Pass reaches 11,481 feet. Wayne gives a thumbs up for the DRZs that keep on chugging despite the thin air.
We've seen a lot of cows so far, but these are our first Texas Longhorns. This one looks self-assured enough that I snap the pic as quickly as possible so I can get both hands back on the bars. They might be extremely docile, but I still would never turn my back on anything with two bayonets glued to their heads. And hey, doesn't the sky look a little dark?...
...Oh, that's because it freaking is. The rain begins gradually but reaches full annoyance before too long. An ordinarily easy road is now soft with mud and the DRZs are tracking wherever the mud wants it to track. I can't speak for Wayne, but I think this is the hardest riding yet. Actually, there's no real riding involved — I'm just applying the gas and accepting whatever comes.
We make it into Hartsel, which is a little drier than where we were at. We're not feeling optimistic about the weather clearing up so Wayne calls the Super 8 in Salida and reserves a room (it looks like he's giving himself a "time out" in the process). We make the decision to bypass a dirt section into Salida since it's marked with a water crossing. A recent storm has caused flash flooding through parts of Colorado (along with a rare funnel cloud on Pikes Peak) so that crossing is probably anything but a crossing at the moment.
The rain has backed off but it's still not a Kodak-moment type of afternoon.
We finally knock out the pavement miles and arrive at the Salida Super 8 where our own Hot Tub Time Machine awaits us. 1986, take us away!
183 miles, 4:29 hours moving time
|08-27-2013, 10:31 AM||#41|
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Central Coast, CA. USA & Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur
Late to this! Glad you guy's are back, Your 2011 report was Awesome. Looking forward to this one.
|08-28-2013, 10:29 PM||#43|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
DAY 13 - JULY 16 - TUESDAY
Salida, CO to Chama, NM
It was such a hard night of partying for Lola that her soul fled through her eyes so it could get some rest in a quiet corner before re-entering that burly body for another long day of riding shotgun.
This couple stared at us all yesterday afternoon as we unpacked, and they're back this morning to pick up where they left off. Don't they know how to work a TV? They are travelling with someone related to them, as a loud command to get their asses in gear is delivered by a woman whose nerves seem frayed by the responsibility of caring for aging parents (whose only pastime is staring at strangers).
Alex and Wayne chat about whatever it is dudes like to chat about (pick one: vehicles, weapons, team sports, action movies, or mammalian milk-delivery devices.) Wayne's concentration is not 100% there because he's been complaining all morning about how his boots seemed to have shrunk as a result of the previous day's rains. Apparently, they are so tight they're causing a bit of pain.
Wayne looks at the line between pavement and dirt while Simon looks at whatever dogs with cataracts think they're looking at (pick one: food or food).
The rains from the previous day make this stretch of road perfect. There's no dust and the traction combined with moderate surface imperfections makes it a blast to ride. I give it a thumbs up.
Marshall Pass is at 10,842 feet so Simon puts on his hangdog "I've got altitude sickness so how about a medicinal biscuit?" face.
It's a fine day to cruise into the Rio Grande National Forest.
Once we're back on pavement we wait to regroup with Alex. Wayne still cannot believe how much his boots have shrunk and how hard it is to shift. Just standing there makes his feet throb. He asks me how my boots feel. I tell him they feel great — spacious, even. Hmmm...
...we realize at the same moment we must've swapped boots! None of our riding gear is identical except for the boots and all this time Wayne had his size 10.5 feet jammed into my 7.5 boots. When I am done crying and snorting and slapping my thigh — it's hilarious when you're not on the suffering end of it! — we have a boot repatriation ceremony. Only after my boots are back on my feet do I realize how (deliciously) sloppy Wayne's boots were. I feel like I'm going from a full-size sedan back to a compact.
It's lunch time at La Garita, a single-business kinda town.
Although La Garita is in the middle of nowhere, they've still got what really matters.
After lunch we hit some fun two-track that has a TAT flavor. There are plenty of puddles from the rain and for my street friends who have never ridden through mud, here's a clip of how it can send your bike in a random direction.
Anybody notice I haven't crashed on this trip yet? Well, that lucky streak ends here and now. We made a brief stop and upon resuming I wipe the camera cover and focus on Alex and Wayne to try to get some nice footage. I'm not paying enough attention to the terrain and drive into a rut that slaps me into the dirt. I'm on a slight bank so there's hope I can pick up the bike without destroying my spine and every muscle attached to it. I put my back to the bike, grab the handlebar and the rear rack, and dead lift the pig for all I'm worth. I'm surprised I get it righted (minor back soreness the next day) and catch up to Wayne who's waiting for me.
Wayne is probably telling me how much better his feet feel right now.
A lot of bicyclists must've been wandering onto the airport property because there were many of these signs to keep them on the proper path.
Del Norte has a grocery store so we grab some items for dinner. Wayne and Simon look away as if they don't know each other: Wayne is ashamed of having a puny, girly dog and Simon is ashamed of being seen with the filthy homeless-looking dude.
You can buy buffalo meat online from a company in Del Norte — these must be the blissfully ignorant steaks-to-be.
South of Del Norte are miles and miles of switchbacks that wind up and down around several mountains. It's such physical riding I'm not able to take my hand off the bar to do my one-handed shots. I try to take video but the battery in my action cam is dead. For those who know the true value of a squiggly line on a map, I'm sure you can appreciate this bit of twisted intestine.
After that long stretch, we need a break. While we're hanging out, a camp host working in the area ask if we'll deliver a message to the campers at Spectacle Lake (it's just far enough away he doesn't want to make the round trip). Colorado recently had several large wildfires so a campfire restriction was in place. Thanks to the heavy rains of late, that restriction has been lifted and he wants us to tell the campers at Spectacle Lake. We tell him we will pass on the news.
Wayne finds the few campers and spreads the word. I wonder how people didn't believe him and stuck with their plans of making smores over the Coleman stove.
By the time we get to Chama, NM it's around 7:00. Chama is a bit of an armpit, but we're so tired we're willing to find a place in town.
Twin River Trailer Park is where we decide to lay our heads tonight.
But not until we wolf down another big pot of Alex's Taco Soup. It's the dinner of elite athletes and adventure riders.
251 miles, 7:19 hours moving time
|09-03-2013, 03:55 PM||#44|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
DAY 14 - JULY 17 - WEDNESDAY
Chama, NM to Cuba, NM
Sit up for one second and He Who Covets Pillows slides right on in.
A picnic table at a camp site is a bonus; a covered one is a luxury.
I think Twin Rivers refers to Rio Chama (a major tributary of Rio Grande), and Rio Chamita (a tributary of Rio Chama) since the RV park is sandwiched between the two. Rio Chamita has been in the EPA's crosshairs for high levels of phosphorous, ammonia and fecal coliform. Thankfully for the tourist-dependent Chama, people come to ride the historic steam-driven train and not frolic in their waters.
While we're waiting to get through a stretch of road construction, Alex the Dog Whispering Biscuit Peddler once again demonstrates why the bitches love him.
The first thing I notice about New Mexico's dirt roads is that someone siphoned off all the funds earmarked for their maintenance. If you like it rough, make this your next vacation destination.
This is the rocky section we'd been anticipating. There isn't much for me to do but keep the gas steady and try not to fight the bike. If you watch the video you can see Wayne's DRZ jerking around; having Simon attached to him must've made the ride a lot harder. Simon is pretty good about sitting still, but when he starts shifting around his weight becomes even more noticeable.
Alex is stopped on the hill waiting for his clutch to cool down. The space between him and the tree would be ample if it weren't for all the bouncing around. As I approach him he very wisely pulls in his leg.
With the rocks behind us, we take a breather at the top.
Hey, I guess not all of New Mexico's dirt roads have gone to seed.
The grasshoppers are thick in parts. Whoever's in the lead scares them up so they pelt the person behind. This video doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea (probably most obvious at around 40 seconds).
Not unlike the grasshoppers, the cows sometimes get spooked and take off. This one jukes a few times but can't seem to shake the large thing behind it.
When we get to the pavement we wait to regroup with Alex. So how does Simon spend his moment of freedom?...
...He finds a soft cow patty and grinds himself into it. Arrrrgh! Simon is angling to be the only dog in all of northern New Mexico to be put on a leash.
We noticed there were no gas waypoints for Vallecitos, but we're hoping we might find a place for lunch. Man, I do hereby apologize to Chama for calling it an armpit. Vallecitos is the true axilla of New Mexico, if not the unwashed perineum.
With no other town nearby, we stop and dig through our bags for a suitable lunch. We also take this opportunity to evaluate an upcoming section, which has several waypoints for steep rocky hills. Seeing how Alex's clutch took a beating on the hill this morning, we decide to do a reroute.
Although we don't know the quality of the roads on the reroute, we do know they're at least not dotted lines in the DeLorme Atlas. The roads also stay close to the Continental Divide (cross it even?) so we stay true to the journey. Simon is interested in helping; Lola less so.
We stop in Abiquiu to get gas and food for dinner. Always on the lookout for our daily ice cream fix, The Frosty Cow is a beautiful site. It should also be the backdrop for Wes Anderson's (the color-obsessed director) next movie.
Lola thinks keeping ice cream just out of Simon's reach is as funny as I do.
After Abiquiu we're on pavement until we hit County Road 217, where our reroute begins.
And are we ever pleased to encounter a Ural friendly surface!
At a T in the road we check to make sure we're turning onto Forest Road 103. There was some snafu while loading my tracks so I don't have them — I'm relying on the boys to lead the way.
Teakettle rock looks like it was dropped there from outer space. There are no other rock formations in the area (at least that we could see).
I can no longer accuse New Mexico of having bad roads — this is some serious high-speed hardpack. Bonus: None of that gravel that I deeply despise.
With the sun getting low, we find a camping spot near an overlook. It looks like a peaceful meal, and it is if you don't include Wayne's brain spinning a mile a minute. A few days ago he got an email from a major retailer thanking him for taking a survey he didn't take. As I was pitching the tent he checked his voicemail and learned that someone tried opening a credit card account in his name. He talked to his current credit card company and someone tried charging $550 at Bloomingdales.com and $2500 at Sears.com on his card (the charges were not approved). Having someone trying to steal your identity while you're on vacation and in the middle of nowhere is a huge buzz kill.
I look out and see a sunset. Wayne looks out and sees a world where somebody is running around trying to pretend he's him. Simon is thinking about the same thing he thinks about 24/7.
178 miles, 5:58 hours moving time
|09-05-2013, 12:11 PM||#45|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Diego
DAY 15 - JULY 18 - THURSDAY
Cuba, NM to Pie Town, NM
Rise and shine, campers!
Wayne is a man on a mission: Get decent cell coverage so he can call the credit bureaus and regain control of his purloined identity.
After wolfing down a fast food breakfast, Wayne wanders off to a quiet spot (which didn't really look all that quiet) to make his phone calls to the major credit bureaus to inform them that not all people are honest. The first one he calls says they'll alert the other two agencies which is good since that one call takes about 20 minutes.
Oh, to have a job where you get to work with dogs and people who can't talk back.
A guy who's familiar with New Mexico sheds some light on the areas we're about to travel. Nothing ahead of us sounds problematic.
Into the wide open high desert we go. We are extremely lucky that the temps are in the 80s. Early on in the trip we were wondering if the New Mexico portion would have to be abandoned due to excessive heat. Both dogs are senior citizens but they still have the constitution for adventure as long as it doesn't include seizure-inducing heat.
The monsoonal weather has created the occasional small pond that needs to be skirted. The ranchers have done their share of skirting so it's not hard to find their tracks to follow.
We must be crossing through mostly private property since there are a lot of gates we have to open and close.
Amazingly, this Western Diamondback is the only snake we've seen on the entire trip. We frequently see rattlers when we mountain bike in San Diego so their paucity across so many miles of prime snake territory is surprising.
This part of New Mexico is full of arroyos. A heavy afternoon storm could easily halt forward progress — if one arroyo isn't rendered impassable, there are many others ready to step up.
While it's not hot by desert standards, it's still hot, especially when you're not moving. We find the only shade for miles around under these mesquite trees. Apparently the cows also like this place since it's littered with patties. The warm, humid smell has a way of dulling one's palate.
After we get gas in Grant we have about 60 miles of pavement to cover before returning to dirt.
As Alex takes off down the road I think he gives us the universal sign for "See you stiffs in Pie Town!"
Pie Town gets its name from a 1920s bakery that made dried-apple pies (unless the internet lied to me). There are two pie joints in town and the one we head to this afternoon is Pie-O-Neer (we plan to have breakfast at the other one tomorrow).
We squeak into Pie-O-Neer just before they close. This is important because Alex is a pie freak and if he could do one thing in life it would be to write a coffee table book about motorcycling and pies. Had they been closed, that picnic table would've been overturned and a few windows would've been smashed. The pie selection was light since it was the end of the day, but Alex still got ahold of two solid slices.
Our night's accommodations are at the Toaster House, so named for the toasters that festoon the entrance. It's a place where Continental Divide bicyclists, hikers, motorcyclists, etc. can stay for free. The owner, Nita, lives in another house not too far from this one. Unless I completely misheard the story, I think the first toaster that appeared had something to do with a long-ago divorce whereby a toaster was unceremoniously returned by being hung on the gate.
The kitchen is stocked with food and cooking utensils.
I pull a frozen pizza from the refrigerator out on the back porch but I couldn't figure out how to work the stove. Where are the knobs? Say what?! A wood burning stove? Absolutely barbaric. Thankfully, the pizza isn't full sized so it fits in the toaster oven.
There were several bedrooms (complete with mattresses and bedding), including a sizeable loft above the kitchen.
Funky stuff could be found throughout the property, including this gem. Simon wants to make a call to the SPCA about his sub-par travelling conditions but he doesn't have pockets to carry the coins needed for the call.
If you're doing the Divide, you should spend a night at the Toaster House (34.300315,-108.138573). Donations keep the house up and running.
202 miles, 5:36 hours moving time
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